You have been referred to the Rapid Access Skin Assessment Clinic by your GP. Your GP may have attached photographs to the referral which will have been reviewed by a consultant dermatologist at the hospital.

At the Rapid Access Skin Assessment Clinic we will look at or treat a skin lesion. A skin lesion is a part of the skin that has an abnormal growth or appearance compared to the skin around it. Our priority is to confirm or rule out a diagnosis of skin cancer. This page gives you information about the clinic and how it runs.

About the Rapid Access Skin Assessment Clinic

The clinic aims to quickly give a diagnosis and treatment to patients with new or changing lesions that may be skin cancer. The clinic has a team of health care professionals including dermatologists (skin specialists), dermatologic surgeons (skin specialists trained in skin surgery) and cancer nurse specialists. There is also a team of outpatient nurses who are here to help you during your clinic visits.

Please feel free to ask us any questions you may have about your skin and why you have been referred to the clinic.

Why have I been referred to the clinic?

Patients are usually referred to the Rapid Access Skin Assessment Clinic because there is a concern about a single lesion, but as part of our screening we offer all our patients a full skin check. If your GP took photographs of your skin lesion, these will have been assessed by the dermatology consultant and it has been decided that you need to be seen at the hospital within 28 days.

How long will I wait to get an appointment?

We aim to provide quick access to our clinic for patients with suspected skin cancer and see referrals within 28 days. We try to match the number of doctors and nurses in clinic to the number of patients attending to reduce any delays.

As it is our aim to see urgent referrals within 28 days, our clinics are often busy. We are sorry if you have had any delays in getting an appointment, but we will do our best to see you as soon as possible.

What will happen in the clinic?

When the doctor is ready to see you a nurse will ask you to go into the consulting room. If you would like a full skin check you will be asked to undress so that the doctor can examine all of your skin. If you would rather not have a full skin check, or if you would like another member of staff to be present, please let the doctor know.

How will you make a diagnosis?

Sometimes a diagnosis is made after examining your skin, but often we need to take a sample (skin biopsy) to make an accurate diagnosis.

If the doctor examining you decides that a biopsy is needed to help with the diagnosis or skin surgery to treat a lesion, we will try to offer this during your assessment appointment. If we are unable to do this, then another appointment will be arranged for the earliest available date.

A skin biopsy is carried out with local anaesthetic (the skin is numbed). Stiches are often needed after a biopsy.

How long will I wait to be seen in the clinic?

The demand for the clinic and for biopsies is high which can mean there is a wait to see a doctor or for a biopsy. We will try to see you as quickly as possible but apologise if you experience any delays. If you are offered a biopsy, but feel you cannot wait, please tell the doctor so that another appointment can be arranged.

Why do I need a biopsy?

We take a biopsy of any lesion where it is not possible to make a clinical diagnosis by only examining your skin.

We treat all skin cancers and pre-cancerous lesions. We cannot treat benign (non-cancerous) skin lesions.

What happens after a surgical procedure?

When the result of your biopsy is received, your hospital doctor will decide if a follow-up appointment is needed. If needed, you will receive a letter with the appointment details which is normally 4 to 6 weeks after your first procedure. Please try to attend any follow-up appointment offered as our clinic slots are always in demand. If you are unable to keep the appointment please contact the Booking Office to rearrange. The contact number will be on your appointment letter.

Can I get my result by telephone?

We do not usually give results over the telephone. If you are contacted by telephone with a follow up appointment please do not ask the caller about your biopsy result. The person calling will be an administrator who has been asked to book your appointment. The caller will not have been told the result or why you need to come back for a follow-up.

If you are offered an appointment it is because the doctor feels it is important to see you again. Do not be concerned as many patients who have had skin surgery are offered follow-up appointments. This may be because the doctor wishes to discuss the biopsy results with you, examine your skin again, to arrange more tests or to offer you treatment.


Most patients are not routinely given follow-up appointments.

If you have had skin cancer surgery, we are likely to contact you at a later date to offer a follow-up appointment. It is important that you let us have your day time telephone number as we may need to contact you at short notice.

What do I do if I have not been contacted about a follow-up?

Usually, our patients will have been told about follow-up plans within 4 weeks of their procedure.

If you have not heard anything after 4 weeks please contact your consultant’s secretary at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.

Contact information

Booking Office

Tel: 0300 422 4506

If you have any worries or concerns following your clinic appointment, please contact your consultant’s secretary. The secretary’s phone number will be at the top of your clinic letter.

Alternatively you can contact:

Gloucestershire Hospitals Switchboard

Tel: 0300 422 2222

When prompted ask for the operator then for your consultant’s secretary.

Printable version of this page

Rapid Access Skin Assessment Clinic GHPI1440_01_21 Department: Dermatology Review due: November 2024 PDF, 149.8 KB, 4 pages
Reference number GHPI1440_11_21
Department Dermatology
Review due November 2024